Missouri is on track to make some major investments to address the mental and developmental health needs of the state’s citizens. Valerie Huhn (hoon) is the recently- appointed director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Valerie Huhn (Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Mental Health)

She says their biggest challenge is the workforce crisis.  “We were grateful to get over $27 million in the budget for our state workforce we also got a lot of dollars in the budget to support our community providers to increase pay for that workforce as well however we are still struggling,” she told Missourinet.

Huhn is hoping the extra money will help them hire in a variety of positions:

“We need nurses, we need direct support professionals, we need psychiatrists, we need social workers, we need peer supports. Every position is open and available so hopefully with some of the dollars that have been put into the budget this year we will start to see more growth in that workforce participation for mental health professions.”

Director Huhn discussed her part of the state budget with Alisa Nelson on Show Me Today. Listen to an excerpt of the interview (13:22)